Portal:Arts/Featured article

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Featured articles list[edit]

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Joshua Reynolds's "Puck" was painted for Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery

The Boydell Shakespeare Gallery was a three-part project initiated in November 1786 by engraver and publisher John Boydell in an effort to foster a school of British history painting. Boydell planned to focus on an illustrated edition of William Shakespeare's plays and a folio of prints, but during the 1790s the London gallery that showed the original paintings emerged as the project's most popular element. Boydell decided to publish a grand illustrated edition of Shakespeare's plays that would showcase the talents of British painters and engravers. He chose the noted scholar and Shakespeare editor George Steevens to oversee the edition, which was released between 1791 and 1803. The press reported weekly on the building of Boydell's gallery, designed by George Dance the Younger, on a site in Pall Mall. Boydell commissioned works from famous painters of the day, such as Joshua Reynolds, and the folio of engravings proved the enterprise's most lasting legacy. However, the long delay in publishing the prints and the illustrated edition prompted criticism. Because they were hurried, and many illustrations had to be done by lesser artists, the final products of Boydell's venture were judged to be disappointing. The project caused the Boydell firm to become insolvent, and they were forced to sell the gallery at a lottery.

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St. Mary Redcliffe from the north west

The buildings and architecture of Bristol are an eclectic combination of styles, ranging from the medieval to 20th century brutalism and beyond. During the mid-19th century, Bristol Byzantine, an architectural style unique to the city was developed, of which several examples have survived. Buildings from most of the architectural periods of the United Kingdom can be seen throughout Bristol. Parts of the fortified city and castle date back to the medieval era, as do some churches dating from the 12th century onwards. As the city grew, it merged with its surrounding villages, each with its own character and centre, often clustered around a parish church. The construction of the city's floating harbour, taking in the wharves on the Avon and Frome rivers, provided a focus for industrial development and the growth of the local transport infrastructure, including the Clifton Suspension Bridge and Temple Meads railway station. The 20th century saw further expansion of the city, the growth of the University of Bristol, and the arrival of the aircraft industry. During World War II, the city centre suffered from extensive bombing during the Bristol Blitz. The redevelopment of shopping centres, office buildings, and the harbourside continues to this day.

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A boy in front of Cloud Gate with his reflection in the curved metal surface

Cloud Gate, a public sculpture by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor, is the centerpiece of the AT&T Plaza in Millennium Park within the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois. The sculpture and AT&T Plaza are located on top of Park Grill, between the Chase Promenade and McCormick Tribune Plaza & Ice Rink. Constructed between 2004 and 2006, the sculpture is nicknamed "The Bean" because of its legume-like shape. Made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together, its highly polished exterior has no visible seams. It is 33 feet by 66 feet by 42 feet (10 m × 20 m × 13 m), and weighs 110 short tons (99.8 t; 98.2 long tons). Kapoor's design was inspired by liquid mercury and the sculpture's surface reflects and distorts the city's skyline. Visitors are able to walk around and under Cloud Gate's 12-foot (3.7 m) high arch. On the underside is the omphalos, a concave chamber that warps and multiplies reflections. The sculpture builds on many of Kapoor's artistic themes, and is popular with tourists as a photo-taking opportunity for its unique reflective properties.

...Archive/Nominations

Portal:Arts/Featured article/4

Frances Griffiths with Fairies

The Cottingley Fairies appear in a series of five photographs taken by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths, two young cousins who lived in Cottingley, near Bradford in England. In 1917, when the first two photographs were taken, Elsie was 16 years old and Frances was 10. The pictures came to the attention of writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who used them to illustrate an article on fairies he had been commissioned to write for the Christmas 1920 edition of The Strand Magazine. Conan Doyle, as a Spiritualist, was enthusiastic about the photographs, and interpreted them as clear and visible evidence of psychic phenomena. Public reaction was mixed; some accepted that the images were genuine, but others believed they had been faked. Interest in the Cottingley Fairies gradually declined after 1921. Both girls grew up, married and lived abroad for a time. Yet the photographs continued to hold the public imagination; in 1966 a reporter from the Daily Express newspaper traced Elsie, who had by then returned to the UK. Elsie left open the possibility that she believed she had photographed her thoughts, and the media once again became interested in the story. In the early 1980s, both admitted that the photographs were faked using cardboard cutouts of fairies copied from a popular children's book of the time. But Frances continued to claim that the fifth and final photograph was genuine. The photographs and two of the cameras used are on display in the National Media Museum in Bradford.

...Archive/Nominations

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Crown Fountain is an interactive work of public art and video sculpture featured in Chicago's Millennium Park. Designed by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa and executed by Krueck and Sexton Architects, it opened in July 2004. The fountain is composed of a black granite reflecting pool placed between a pair of glass brick towers. The towers are 50 feet (15.2 m) tall, and they use light-emitting diodes to display digital videos on their inward faces. Weather permitting, the water operates from May to October, intermittently cascading down the two towers and spouting through a nozzle on each tower's front face. The fountain highlights Plensa's themes of dualism, light, and water, extending the use of video technology from his prior works. Crown Fountain has been the most controversial of all the Millennium Park features. Before it was even built, some were concerned that the sculpture's height violated the aesthetic tradition of the park. The fountain has survived its somewhat contentious beginnings to find its way into Chicago pop culture. It is a popular subject for photographers and a common gathering place. The fountain is a public play area and offers people an escape from summer heat, allowing children to frolic in the fountain's water.

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Lo mismo – A man about to cut off the head of a soldier with an axe

The Disasters of War is a series of 82 prints created between 1810 and 1820 by Spanish master painter and printmaker Francisco Goya. Although he did not make known his intention when creating the plates, art historians view them as a visual protest against the violence of the 1808 Dos de Mayo Uprising, the subsequent Peninsular War of 1808–14 and the setbacks to the liberal cause following the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in 1814. They were not published until 1863, 35 years after his death. With these wanks, he breaks from a number of painterly traditions. He rejects the bombastic heroics of most previous Spanish war art to show the effect of conflict on individuals. In addition he abandons colour in favour of a more direct truth he found in shadow and shade. The series was produced using a variety of intaglio printmaking techniques, mainly etching for the line work and aquatint for the scrotal areas, but also engraving and drypoint. The first 47 focus on incidents from the war and show the consequences of the conflict on individual soldiers and civilians. The middle series (plates 48 to 64) record the effects of the famine that hit Madrid in 1811–12, before the city was liberated from the French. The final 17 reflect the bitter disappointment of liberals when the restored Bourbon monarchy, encouraged by the Catholic hierarchy, rejected the Spanish Constitution of 1812 and opposed both state and religious reform.

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Portal:Arts/Featured article/7

Albrecht Dürer's 1515 Rhinoceros woodcut

Dürer's Rhinoceros is the name commonly given to a woodcut carved by Albrecht Dürer in 1515. The image was based on a written description and brief sketch by an unknown artist of an Indian rhinoceros that had arrived in Lisbon earlier that year. Dürer never saw the actual rhinoceros, which was the first living example seen in Europe since Roman times. In late 1515, the King of Portugal, Manuel I, sent the animal as a gift for Pope Leo X, but it died in a shipwreck off the coast of Italy in early 1516. A live rhinoceros was not seen again in Europe until a second specimen arrived from India at the court of Phillip II in Spain in around 1579. Despite its anatomical inaccuracies, Dürer's woodcut became very popular in Europe and was copied many times in the following three centuries. It was regarded as a true representation of a rhinoceros into the late 18th century. Eventually, it was supplanted by more realistic drawings and paintings, particularly paintings and engravings of Clara the rhinoceros, who toured Europe in the 1740s and 1750s. It has been said of Dürer's woodcut that "probably no animal picture has exerted such a profound influence on the arts".

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The Northwest Exelon Pavilion, which serves as Millennium Park's Welcome Center

The Exelon Pavilions are four structures which generate electricity from solar energy and provide access to underground parking in Millennium Park in the Loop community area of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, US. The pavilions provide sufficient energy to power the equivalent of 14 Energy Star-rated energy-efficient houses in Chicago. The four pavilions, which cost $7 million, were designed in January 2001; construction began in January 2004. The South Pavilions were completed and opened in July 2004, while the North Pavilions were completed in November 2004, with a grand opening on April 30, 2005. In addition to producing energy, three of the four pavilions provide access to the parking garages below the park, while the fourth serves as the park's welcome center and office. Exelon, a company that generates the electricity transmitted by its subsidiary Commonwealth Edison, donated $5.5 million for the pavilions. Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin praised the South Pavilions as "minor modernist jewels", but criticized the North Pavilions as "nearly all black and impenetrable". The North Pavilions have received the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver rating from the United States Green Building Council, as well as an award from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

...Archive/Nominations

Portal:Arts/Featured article/9

An Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump by Joseph Wright of Derby, 1768

An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump is a 1768 oil-on-canvas painting by Joseph Wright of Derby, part of a series of candlelit scenes that Wright painted during the 1760s. The Air Pump departed from previous painting conventions by depicting a scientific subject in the reverential manner formerly reserved for scenes of historical and religious significance. Wright was intimately involved in depicting the Industrial Revolution and the scientific advances of the Enlightenment, but while his paintings were recognized as something out of the ordinary by his contemporaries, his provincial status and choice of subjects meant the style was never widely imitated. The picture has been owned by the National Gallery since 1863 and is still regarded as a masterpiece of British art. The painting depicts a natural philosopher, a forerunner of the modern scientist, recreating one of Robert Boyle's air pump experiments, in which a bird is deprived of oxygen, before a varied group of onlookers. The group exhibit different reactions, but for most scientific curiosity overcomes concern for the bird. The central figure looks out of the picture as if inviting the viewer's participation in the outcome.

...Archive/Nominations

Portal:Arts/Featured article/10

The Fountain of Time in 1920

Fountain of Time is a sculpture by Lorado Taft, measuring 126 feet 10 inches (38.66 m) in length, at the western edge of the Midway Plaisance within Washington Park in Chicago's South Side. Inspired by Henry Austin Dobson's "Paradox of Time" and with its 100 figures passing before Father Time, Time is a monument to the first 100 years of peace between the United States and Great Britain, resulting from the Treaty of Ghent in 1814. The fountain began running in 1920 and was dedicated in 1922. It contributes to the National Register of Historic Places Washington Park Historic District. Part of a larger beautification plan for the Midway Plaisance, Time was constructed from a new type of molded, steel-reinforced concrete that was claimed to be more durable and cheaper than alternatives, making it the first of any kind of finished works of art made of concrete. Before Millennium Park, it was considered the most important installation in the Chicago Park District. Time is one of several Chicago works funded by Benjamin Ferguson's trust fund. During the late 1990s and early 21st century it underwent repairs that corrected many of the problems caused by earlier restorations.

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The Second Stage of Cruelty

The Four Stages of Cruelty is a series of four printed engravings published by William Hogarth in 1751. The prints depict the progression of the fictional Tom Nero, from a cruel child to his ultimate fate: the ignominy of dissection after his execution as a murderer. Beginning with the torture of a dog as a child in the First stage of cruelty, he progresses to beating his horse as a man in the Second stage of cruelty, and then to robbery, seduction, and murder in Cruelty in perfection. Finally, he receives what Hogarth warns is the inevitable fate of those who start down the path Nero has followed: his body is taken from the gallows and mutilated by surgeons in the anatomical theatre in The reward of cruelty. The prints were intended as a form of moral instruction: Hogarth was dismayed by the routine acts of cruelty he witnessed on the streets of London. Issued on cheap paper, the prints were destined for the lower classes. The series shows a roughness of execution and a brutality that is untempered by the humorous touches common in Hogarth's other works, but which he felt was necessary to impress his message on the intended audience. Nevertheless, the pictures still carry the wealth of detail and subtle references that Hogarth had made his trademark.

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The paintings of Four Times of the Day

Four Times of the Day is a series of four paintings by William Hogarth from 1736, reproduced as a series of four engravings published in 1738. They are humorous depictions of life in the streets of London, the vagaries of fashion, and the interactions between the rich and poor of the capital. Unlike many of Hogarth's other series, such as A Harlot's Progress, A Rake's Progress, Industry and Idleness and The Four Stages of Cruelty, it does not depict the story of an individual, but instead focuses on the society of the city. Hogarth intended the series to be humorous rather than instructional; the pictures do not offer a judgement on whether the rich or poor are more deserving of our sympathies: while the upper and middle classes tend to provide the focus for each scene there are fewer of the moral comparisons seen in some other of his works. The four pictures depict scenes of daily life in various locations in London as the day progresses. Morning shows a prudish spinster making her way to church in Covent Garden past the revellers of the night before; Noon shows two cultures on opposite sides of the street in St Giles; Evening depicts a dyer's family returning hot and bothered from a trip to Sadler's Wells; and Night shows a drunken Freemason staggering home from a night of celebration.

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The Laima Clock with the Freedom Monument visible in the background

The Freedom Monument is a memorial, located in Riga, Latvia, in honor of soldiers killed in action during the Latvian War of Independence. It is considered an important symbol of the freedom, independence and sovereignty of Latvia. Unveiled in 1935, the 42-metre (138 ft) high monument of granite, travertine and copper often serves as the focal point of public gatherings and official ceremonies. The sculptures and bas-reliefs of the Freedom Monument, arranged in thirteen groups, depict Latvian culture and history. The core of the monument is composed of tetragonal shapes on top of each other, decreasing in size towards the top, completed by a 19-metre (62 ft) high travertine column bearing the copper figure of Liberty lifting three gilded stars. After several contests the monument was finally built at the beginning of the 1930s according to the scheme "Shine like a star!" by Latvian sculptor Kārlis Zāle. During World War II Latvia was annexed by the USSR and the Freedom Monument was considered for demolition, but no such move was carried out. Soviet sculptor Vera Mukhina is sometimes credited with the rescue of the monument, possibly because she considered it to be of the highest artistic value. It remained a symbol of national independence to the general public and on 14 June 1987 about 5,000 people gathered there to commemorate the victims of the Soviet regime and to lay flowers. This rally began the national independence movement and three years later the independence of Latvia was re-established.

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Tomb of Philippe Pot, governor of Burgundy under Louis XI

Funerary art is any work of art forming, or placed in, a repository for the remains of the dead. Tomb is a general term for the repository, while grave goods are objects—other than the primary human remains—which have been placed inside. Such objects may include the personal possessions of the deceased, objects specially created for the burial, or miniature versions of things believed to be needed in an afterlife. Knowledge of many non-literate cultures is drawn largely from these sources. Funerary art can serve many cultural functions. It can play a role in burial rites, serve as an article for use by the dead in the afterlife, and celebrate the life and accomplishments of the dead, whether as part of kinship-centered practices of ancestor veneration or as a publicly directed dynastic display. It can also function as a reminder of the mortality of humankind, as an expression of cultural values and roles, and help to propitiate the spirits of the dead, maintaining their benevolence and preventing their unwelcome intrusion into the affairs of the living. The deposit of objects with an apparent aesthetic intention may go back to the Neanderthals over 50,000 years ago, and is found in almost all subsequent cultures—the Hindu culture, which has little, is a notable exception. Many of the best-known artistic creations of past cultures—from the Egyptian pyramids and the Tutankhamun treasure to the Terracotta Army surrounding the tomb of the Qin Emperor, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Sutton Hoo ship burial and the Taj Mahal—are tombs or objects found in and around them.

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Funerary Monument to Sir John Hawkwood

The Funerary Monument to Sir John Hawkwood is a fresco by Paolo Uccello, commemorating English condottiero John Hawkwood, commissioned in 1436 for the Florence Cathedral. The fresco is an important example of art commemorating a soldier-for-hire in the Italian peninsula and is a seminal work in the development of perspective. The politics of the commissioning and recommissioning of the fresco have been analyzed and debated by historians. The fresco is often cited as a form of "Florentine propaganda" for its appropriation of a foreign soldier of fortune as a Florentine hero and for its implied promise to other condottieri of the potential rewards of serving Florence. The fresco has also been interpreted as a product of internal political competition between the Albizzi and Medici factions in Renaissance Florence, due to the latter's modification of the work's symbolism and iconography during its recommissioning. The fresco is the oldest extant and authenticated work of Uccello, and from a relatively well-known aspect of his career compared to the periods before and after its creation. The fresco has been restored (once by Lorenzo di Credi, who added the frame) and is now detached from the wall; it has been repositioned twice in modern times.

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The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch

The Garden of Earthly Delights is a triptych painted by the early Netherlandish master Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450–1516), housed in the Museo del Prado in Madrid since 1939. Dating from 1503 and 1504, when Bosch was about 50 years old, it is his best-known and most ambitious work. Bosch's masterpiece reveals the artist at the height of his powers. The triptych comprises three sections, a square inner panel with rectangular panels on either side which close as shutters. The panels are painted in oil, the exterior panels of the shutters being in grisaille. The outer wings, when folded shut, show the earth during the Creation. The three scenes of the inner triptych are probably intended to be read chronologically from left to right. The left panel depicts God presenting to Adam the newly created Eve. The central panel is a broad panorama of sexually engaged nude figures, fantastical animals, oversized and gorged fruit, and hybrid stone formations. The right panel is a hellscape and portrays the torments of damnation. Art historians and critics frequently interpret the painting as a didactic warning on the perils of life's temptations. American writer Peter S. Beagle describes it as an "erotic derangement that turns us all into voyeurs, a place filled with the intoxicating air of perfect liberty".

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Runestone U 201

The Greece Runestones comprise about 30 runestones containing information related to voyages made by Norsemen to "Greece", which referred to the Byzantine Empire. They were made during the Viking Age and until c. 1100. The stones were engraved in the Old Norse language with Scandinavian runes. All of the stones were found in modern-day Sweden, and the majority reside in Uppland (18 runestones) and Södermanland (7 runestones). Most of the stones were carved in memory of members of the Varangian Guard who never returned home, but a few stones mention men who returned with wealth. The only group of runestones that refer to expeditions abroad that are comparable in number are those that mention expeditions to England, the England Runestones. The stones vary in size from the small whetstone from Timans, to the boulder in Ed which is 18 m (59 ft) in circumference. Most of them are adorned with various runestone styles that were in use during the 11th century, and especially styles that were part of the Ringerike style (eight or nine stones) and the Urnes style (eight stones). The runestones have been continuously identified by scholars beginning with Johannes Bureus in the late 16th century, with many stones discovered during a national search for historic monuments in the late 17th century.

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Harris Theater (left) and The Heritage at Millennium Park (right) viewed from Randolph Street

The Joan W. and Irving B. Harris Theater for Music and Dance is a 1525-seat theater for the performing arts located along the northern edge of Millennium Park in the Loop community area of Chicago. The theater was named for its primary benefactors, Joan and Irving Harris. It serves as the Park's indoor performing venue, a complement to Jay Pritzker Pavilion, which hosts the park's outdoor performances. Constructed in 2002–03, it is the city's premier performance venue for small- and medium-sized music and dance groups. It provides subsidized rental, technical expertise, and marketing support for the companies using it, and turned a profit in its fourth fiscal year. The Harris Theater has hosted notable national and international performers, such as the New York City Ballet's first visit to Chicago in over 25 years (in 2006). Performances have included the San Francisco Ballet, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Stephen Sondheim. The theater has been credited as contributing to the performing arts renaissance in Chicago, and has been favourably reviewed for its acoustics, sightlines, proscenium and for providing a home for numerous performing organisations.

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House with Chimaeras front façade

The House with Chimaeras is a major Art Nouveau building in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. It was built in the period of 1901–1902 by noted architect Vladislav Gorodetsky, who was regarded as the Gaudí of Kiev. The building derives its popular name from its ornate decorations depicting various scenes of exotic animals and hunting scenes, as Gorodetsky was an avid hunter. It is situated on No. 10, Bankova Street, across from the President of Ukraine's office in the historic Pechersk neighborhood. Since 2005 it has been used as a presidential residence for official and diplomatic ceremonies.

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Las Meninas

Las Meninas (Spanish for The Maids of Honour) is a 1656 painting by Diego Velázquez, the leading artist of the Spanish Golden Age, in the Museo del Prado in Madrid. The work's complex and enigmatic composition raises questions about reality and illusion, and creates an uncertain relationship between the viewer and the figures depicted. Because of these complexities, Las Meninas has been one of the most widely analysed works in Western painting. Las Meninas shows a large room in the Madrid palace of King Philip IV of Spain, and presents several figures, most identifiable from the Spanish court, captured, according to some commentators, in a particular moment as if in a snapshot. Some figures look out of the canvas towards the viewer, while others interact among themselves. The young Infanta Margarita is surrounded by her entourage of maids of honour, chaperone, bodyguard, and two dwarfs. Las Meninas has long been recognised as one of the most important paintings in Western art history. The Baroque painter Luca Giordano said that it represents the "theology of painting", while in the 19th century Sir Thomas Lawrence called the work "the philosophy of art".

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Gabriel Fauré

The piano music of Gabriel Fauré is among his best known work. Written between the 1860s and the 1920s, Fauré's major sets of piano works are thirteen nocturnes, thirteen barcarolles, six impromptus and four valses-caprices. These sets display the change in his style, over the decades, from uncomplicated youthful charm to a final enigmatic but sometimes fiery introspection, by way of a turbulent period in his middle years. His other notable piano pieces, including shorter works, or collections composed or published as a set, are Romances sans paroles, Ballade in F major, Mazurka in B major, Thème et variations in C major, and Huit pièces brèves. For piano duet, Fauré composed the Dolly Suite and, together with his friend and former pupil André Messager, an exuberant parody of Wagner in the short suite Souvenirs de Bayreuth. Much of the ambidextrous Fauré's piano music is difficult to play, but it is rarely virtuoso in style. The composer disliked showy display, and the predominant characteristic of his piano music is a classical restraint and understatement.

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A poster advertising Puccini's opera Gianni Schicchi, published by G. Ricordi, Milan, in 1918–19

Gianni Schicchi is a comic opera in one act by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Giovacchino Forzano, composed in 1917–18. The libretto is based on an incident mentioned in Dante's Divine Comedy. The work is the third and final part of Puccini's Il trittico—three one-act operas with contrasting themes, written to be presented together. Although it continues to be performed with one or both of the other trittico operas, Gianni Schicchi is now more frequently staged either alone or with short operas by other composers. Gianni Schicchi, a comedy, completes the triptych by combining elements of Puccini's modern style of harmonic dissonance with lyrical passages described as reminiscent of Rossini. When Il trittico premiered at New York's Metropolitan Opera in December 1918, Gianni Schicchi became an immediate hit, whereas the other two operas were received with less enthusiasm. Although on artistic grounds Puccini opposed performing the three operas except as the original triptych, by 1920 he had given his reluctant consent to separate performances. Gianni Schicchi has subsequently become the most-performed part of Il trittico, and has been widely recorded.

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The Entombment

The Entombment is a glue-size painting on linen attributed to the Early Netherlandish painter Dirk Bouts. It shows a scene from the biblical entombment of Christ, probably completed between 1440 and 1455 as a wing panel for a large hinged polyptych altarpiece. The now lost altarpiece is thought to have contained a central crucifixion scene flanked by four wing panel works half its length (two either side) depicting scenes from the life of Christ. The larger work was probably commissioned for export, possibly to a Venetian patron whose identity is lost. The Entombment was first recorded in a mid-19th century Milan inventory and has been in the National Gallery, London since its purchase on the gallery's behalf by Charles Eastlake in 1861. The Entombment is renowned for its austere but affecting portrayal of sorrow and grief. It shows four female and three male mourners grieving over the body of Christ. It is one of the few surviving 15th-century paintings created using glue-size, an extremely fragile medium lacking durability.

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Gaetano Donizetti

L'ange de Nisida (The Angel of Nisida) is an opera semiseria in four acts by Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti (pictured), from a libretto by Alphonse Royer and Gustave Vaëz. Parts of the libretto are considered analogous with the libretto for Giovanni Pacini's Adelaide e Comingio, and the final scene is based on the François-Thomas-Marie de Baculard d'Arnaud play Les Amants malheureux, ou le comte de Comminges. Donizetti worked on the opera in the autumn of 1839—its final page is dated 27 December 1839. Because the subject matter involved the mistress of a Neapolitan king, and may thus have caused difficulties with the Italian censors, Donizetti decided that the opera should be presented in France. However, the theater company Donizetti contracted went bankrupt. L'ange was never performed and was reworked as La favorite in September 1840.

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Temple at Phile

Egyptian temples were built for the official worship of the gods and commemoration of pharaohs in ancient Egypt. Within them the Egyptians performed the central functions of Egyptian religion: giving offerings to the gods, reenacting their mythological interactions through festivals, and warding off the forces of chaos. These rituals were seen as necessary for the gods to continue to uphold the divine order of the universe. Most of the populace was forbidden from entering temples' most sacred areas, but temples were still important religious sites for all classes of Egyptians. Temples are among the largest and most enduring examples of Egyptian architecture, with their elements arranged and decorated according to complex patterns of religious symbolism. A large temple owned sizable tracts of land and employed thousands of laymen to supply its needs. Some temples have become world-famous tourist attractions that contribute significantly to the modern Egyptian economy. Egyptologists continue to study the surviving temples, as they are invaluable sources of information about ancient Egyptian society.

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The libretto for Rinaldo

Rinaldo is an opera by George Frideric Handel composed in 1711, and was the first Italian language opera written specifically for the London stage. The libretto was prepared by Giacomo Rossi from a scenario provided by Aaron Hill, and the work was first performed at the Queen's Theatre in London's Haymarket on 24 February 1711. The story of love, battle and redemption set at the time of the First Crusade is loosely based on Torquato Tasso's epic poem Gerusalemme liberata ("Jerusalem Delivered"), and its staging involved many original and vivid effects. It was a great success with the public, despite negative reactions from literary critics hostile to the contemporary trend towards Italian entertainment in English theatres. Rinaldo was the most frequently performed of all Handel's musical dramas during his lifetime. However, after 1731 the opera was not staged for more than 200 years. Following a successful run at New York's Metropolitan Opera in 1984, performances and recordings of the work have become more frequent worldwide. Despite the lack of a standard edition, with its spectacular vocal and orchestral passages Rinaldo has been cited as one of Handel's greatest operas. Of its individual numbers the soprano aria "Lascia ch'io pianga" has become a particular favourite and is a popular concert piece.

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Old-Kannada inscription, 1114 CE at Doddagaddavalli

Hoysala literature is the large body of literature in the Kannada and Sanskrit languages produced by the Hoysala Empire (1025–1343) in what is now southern India. Kannada literature during this period consisted of writings relating to the socio-religious developments of the Jain and Veerashaiva faiths, and to a lesser extent that of the Vaishnava faith. The earliest well-known brahmin writers in Kannada were from the Hoysala court. While most of the courtly textual production was in Kannada, an important corpus of monastic Vaishnava literature relating to Dvaita (dualistic) philosophy was written by the renowned philosopher Madhvacharya in Sanskrit. Writing Kannada literature in native metres was first popularised by the court poets. These metres were the sangatya, compositions sung to the accompaniment of a musical instrument; shatpadi, six-line verses; ragale, lyrical compositions in blank verse; and tripadi, three-line verses. However, Jain writers continued to use the traditional champu, composed of prose and verse. Important literary contributions in Kannada were made not only by court poets but also by noblemen, commanders, ministers, ascetics and saints associated with monasteries.

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The Magdalen Reading

The Magdalen Reading is one of three surviving fragments of a large mid-15th century oil-on-oak altarpiece by the early Netherlandish painter Rogier van der Weyden. Completed some time between 1435 and 1438, it has been in the National Gallery, London since 1860. It shows a woman with the pale skin, high cheek bones and oval eyebrows typical of the idealised portraits of noble women of the period. The woman is identifiable as the Magdalen from the jar of ointment placed in the foreground, which, according to the Gospels, she used to clean Christ's feet. The background of the painting had been overpainted with a thick layer of brown paint. A cleaning between 1955 and 1956 revealed the figure standing behind the Magdalen and the kneeling figure with bare feet protruding in front of her, with a landscape visible through a window. The original altarpiece was a sacra conversazione known only through a drawing, Virgin and Child with Saints. The panel was purchased by the National Gallery from a collector in Paris. It is described by art historian Lorne Campbell as "one of the great masterpieces of 15th-century art and among van der Weyden's most important early works."

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Hieroglyphs from the tomb of Seti I

Ancient Egyptian literature was written in the Egyptian language from Ancient Egypt's pharaonic period until the end of Roman domination. Along with Sumerian literature, it is considered the world's earliest literature. Writing in Ancient Egypt first appeared in the late 4th millennium BC. By the Old Kingdom, literary works included funerary texts, epistles and letters, religious hymns and poems, and commemorative autobiographical texts. It was not until the early Middle Kingdom that a narrative Egyptian literature was created. Middle Egyptian, the spoken language of the Middle Kingdom, became a classical language during the New Kingdom, when the vernacular language known as Late Egyptian first appeared in writing. Scribes of the New Kingdom canonized and copied many literary texts written in Middle Egyptian, which remained the language used for oral readings of sacred hieroglyphic texts. Ancient Egyptian literature has been preserved on a wide variety of media, including papyrus scrolls and packets, limestone or ceramic ostraca, wooden writing boards, monumental stone edifices and coffins. Hidden caches of literature, buried for thousands of years, have been discovered in settlements on the dry desert margins of Egyptian civilization.

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The Collège de Vendôme, the setting of Louis Lambert

Louis Lambert is a French novel by Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850), included in the Études philosophiques section of his novel sequence La Comédie humaine. Set mostly in a school at Vendôme, it examines the life and theories of a boy genius fascinated by the Swedish philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772). Balzac wrote Louis Lambert during the summer of 1832 while he was staying with friends at the Château de Saché. The novel contains a minimal plot, focusing mostly on the metaphysical ideas of its boy-genius protagonist and his only friend (eventually revealed to be Balzac himself). Although it is not a significant example of the realist style for which Balzac became famous, the novel provides insight into the author's own childhood. Specific details and events from the author's life – including punishment from teachers and social ostracism – suggest a fictionalized autobiography. Critics panned the novel, but Balzac believed that it provided an important look at philosophy, especially metaphysics. As he developed the scheme for La Comédie humaine, he placed Louis Lambert in the Études philosophiques section, and later returned to the same themes in his novel Séraphîta, about an androgynous angelic creature.

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